4 March 2018
By Elaine Murphy
There’s a new type of event taking place in Cork to mark Seachtain na Gaeilge this year. It’s for people whose Irish is poor (or pretty much non-existent) who would like to get a chance to speak the language in a relaxed setting, while enjoying some delicious Irish food.
Nash 19 Café and Food Shop in Princes Street – recently crowned Best Cork Cafe/Restaurant 2017 – is the location for two ‘Cupla Focal Lunches’ on March 5th and 12th. Nash 19 proprietor Claire Nash has teamed up with former TG4 Cork reporter Grett O’Connor to put together these special events as part of Seachtain na Gaeilge.
For a limited number of ticket holders, Claire will serve a specially-designed traditional Irish menu at large tables in the bright and airy Sternview gallery at the rear of the restaurant. Claire promises there will be ‘no pigs trotters, drisheen or carrigeen moss’ on the menu, but you will enjoy carefully sourced Irish produce, cooked simply and presented beautifully.
Meanwhile, Grett will encourage guests to order their meal ‘as Gaeilge’, use some easy phrases to get a bit of conversation going with people sitting near them, and feel the years roll away as they speak the Irish they remember from school.
‘It will be like that RTE television programme ‘Trom agus Éadtrom’ long ago,’ Grett said. ‘A bit of English, a bit of Irish, a bit of whatever you can manage – and it’s for everyone, nobody’s Irish is too bad to be there. It’s not designed for fluent Irish speakers. These lunches are for people who want to get their cúpla focal out and polish them up.’
Grett explained that over the years when she was working for TG4, many people expressed an interest in improving their Irish.
‘Often when I met people out and about on different stories, they lamented the lack of opportunities to revive the Irish they learned at school. Many people told me they had sent their kids to Gaelscoileanna because they loved the idea of giving them the opportunity to learn through their native language, but then when the kids came home speaking Irish, their parents couldn’t engage with them,’ she said. ‘I want to give people the chance to dust off their cúpla focal and use them again, hopefully adding a few more ‘focals’ to their vocabulary along the way!’
Claire Nash added – “I easily fall into that category. I have little bits of remembered Irish but not enough to give me the confidence to initiate a conversation. I’m wildly passionate about all things Irish – our landscape, our literature and our music but especially our food. When I hear Irish spoken I’m constantly reminded of how beautifully sounding a language it is. I would love to enhance my Irish language skills and I’m really looking forward to these events.”
A limited number of tickets will be available from Nash 19 (021-4270880) for the two Cupla Focal Lunches at a cost of €22 per person. This includes a three-course lunch and a slice of Irishness! Further information from Grett at firstname.lastname@example.org